Baldwin Students Attend Virtual Diversity Conference
By Riya Rao ’25
On October 23, three Baldwin students ¾ Maya Clever ’22, Eri Maeda ’23 and myself, Riya Rao ’25, had the opportunity to attend the 10th Mid-Atlantic Region Diversity (MARD) conference, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The conference involved thoughtful discussions and exercises working around diversity, equity and inclusion. We were able to talk with people from all over the world, ranging from Kansas to London.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Rodney Glasgow gave a speech in which he emphasized the theme for the conference: “We can do this!” Dr. Glasgow talked about how each word in the phrase is something important, and how the key takeaway is “WE can do this” rather than “I can do this.” His speech encouraged us to remember that to succeed in growing diversity and inclusion, we have to collaborate and work together.
Dr. Glasgow arranged an exercise that was one of the benefits of being on Zoom. Initially, we all had to keep our cameras off. Then, he called out different groups (based on gender, sexuality, race, etc.), and had every person who belonged to one of those groups turn their camera on. It was then that I realized how diverse the conference truly was. We had attendees who represented many ethnic communities like African American, LatinX, Asian American and Indigenous peoples.
After this first exercise, we dispersed into different affinity groups. I joined the Asian-American affinity group and met different people from all over America. We engaged in a thoughtful discussion about our own experiences, which was led by a few students from the Abington Friends School. We also answered questions about how we felt during the previous activity. Since we were short on time, we only had about 35 minutes before we would transfer from affinity groups to discussion groups. I joined the discussion group that talked about women and self-advocacy. The discussion leaders were two students from the same school, and they gave a very thorough and thoughtful presentation; we discussed different ways on how to self-advocate both in and out of the classroom.
Attending the MARD Conference was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to listen to diverse people talk about their experiences, share my own experiences and learn new ideas about how WE can change the world.